Artist Statement

When I began my travels to Mexico in 1963 - to Mexico City, Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, then a 2-hotel fishing village, I photographed with a brownie camera. When I returned in the 80s, I used an SLR. By the 90s, Mexico had become the focus of my art through watercolor and photography.

The watercolors are surrealistic, reflecting my experience of a culture through collected ceramic animals, costume, jewelery, music, pottery and puppets; and captured in photographs and sketches.

Guiding me has been my maternal grandfather who made several trips to Mexico in the 40s, presenting me with little gifts before I turned 5. Red felt jacket embroidered with stories. Miniatures - blue and white pitcher and 1-legged brown metal chicken. Woven straw pocketbook which now contains brushes and occupies a spot on my studio work table.

In recent years, the photographs have turned to the panteones (cemeteries) found on the outskirts of cities and villages. Each tombstone (tomba) has evolved as the creative endeavor of the family who constructed and continues to care for it. And I, in turn, realize the panteones as museums to which families return en Dia De Los Muertos to celebrate the union of la vida y muerte (life and death).

My Mexico work is a tribute to the Mexican people who have been helpful to me in my travels. The 2 young men who saved me from drowning in the Pacific, 1963. The Nahuatl-speaking women and children who invited me to sit with them, exchanging Nahuatl, Spanish and English on a hillside panteon en Dia De Los Muertos in Chiapas, l995. And the Huicholes of Nayarit who allowed a tour group to witness women perform a ritual dance and their Shaman to pray over each of us. A mountain village where the Cartel has established a foothold, army tanks positioned en route, and now off limits to travellers.

When I'm not painting or photographing Mexico, I'm focused on children and adults, who appeal to my aesthetic sensibility, as well as on still life and collage. All to appear here in future offerings.

Throughout the years, from the 60's forward, I have worked in black and white as well - in photography, drawing and collage. Additional images here derive mainly from my work in the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama and Mississippi, and more generally, address social change.